Movie review: A Good Day to Die Hard

The original Die Hard is one of my favourite movies of all time, if not the movie in the number one spot. As the franchise has gone on the movies have varied in quality from the identikit (but still good) Die Hard 2, the sprawling (but still good) With A Vengeance and the daft but fun (but still good) Die Hard 4.0, and now we have this latest installment.

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

A Good Day…is a shambling ham-fisted bull-headed mess. And it really pains me to say that. Whereas 4.0 was big loud dumb fun, this is just big, loud and very dumb. A lot of people (myself included) bemoaned the fact that the 12A rating would neuter the film. Turns out, the certificate is the least of the films problems, as it actually is surprisingly violent and sweary. It just doesn’t feel like a Die Hard film at all.

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The script is atrocious; no real explanation is given to what John McClane plans to do once he gets to Russia to see his son (Jai Courtney), other than to get caught up in the mayhem that inevitably ensues; there are at least three awful conversations about why John is such a bad father or what it means to be a good father and how John isn’t one, one of which his son Jack just happens to overhear; the attempts are father/son banter fall woefully flat; and the villain is flat out awful.

The action is incoherent, each set piece louder and dumber than the last; for example, the opening car chase seems to last forever without one iota of excitement or innovation; a later fight with a helicopter is deemed so good that it’s repeated again come the climax. The rest of the action is as bland as it comes, despite the director trying to make it exciting by shaking the camera like his life depended on it. In fact, there’s only one scene that seems like something John McClane would actually do, such is the ridiculousness of it. And it’s the best bit of the film.

And that’s my main gripe with the film; Bruce Willis seems to have forgotten how to play the character that made him famous. He’s barely acting for the most part. He’s McClane in name only, and has none of the cheeky charm that made the character so loved. In fact, due to the script and Willis under-acting, the character comes off as wholly unlikeable.

And the ending features one of the most unintentionally hilarious but simultaneously soul crushing (to a Die Hard fan) moments ever. Freeze Frame!

I really really hated A Good Day to Die Hard, and the more I think about it the more I dislike it. I don’t think it has any redeeming features, and should be the final nail in the coffin for the franchise.

But what do I know?

1 star
(it’s that bad)

Review by Jonathan Cardwell.

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Post Author: Belfast Times

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